Fri Jul 9 14:24:53 MST 2010

Woodland Hills City Council Meets; The Sentinel

Deputy Buttars
Dan Ellsworth
Val Wilding
new police chief

The Woodland Hills city council selected Val Wilding to be the new chief of the city's volunteer fire department. The city council met on the evening of July 8 to consider that appointment and several other pressing matters.

Mayor Steve Lauritzen said that the previous chief, Dorel Kynaston, wanted a "break" from his responsibilities after 5 years of service. Lauritzen consulted several people in the city who had served in the department, and he brought two names to the council as candidates: Marci Shaver-Adams and Val Wilding. After about a half-hour of closed session deliberations, the council emerged and voted unanimously to confirm Wilding.

In other business, the council adopted a new ordinance for the conduct of meetings with "electronic" participants. Previously, council members could call-in to meetings and participate via a speakerphone in the council room, but they needed explicit permission for each case, and only those members in the meeting room counted towards a legal "quorum". The new ordinance does not require permission and does not distinguish between "in the room" and "remote" participants in determining a quorum.

The city's new community deputy under contract from the Utah County Sheriff's Office (UCSO) is Deputy Buttars, who grew up in a small town in Wyoming and has been with the UCSO for several years. He had one specific reommendation for the city, which was to make a very steep (19% grade) section of road on lower Oak a seasonal road with a locked entrance during winter. This would replace the current rule that prohibits downhill traffic on the steep stretch and is frequently violated.

Dan Ellsworth of the SESD, which provides electric power to the city, answered several questions for the council about rates, representation, and benefits of membership in the district. He touted donations of thousands of dollars of labor and free power from SESD to Woodland Hills. A rate comparison showed SESD's rates to be considerably higher than those in surrounding cities. Ellsworth said that SESD had long-term contracts that insulated its rate payers from market spikes.

Council members were interested in the sources that generate the power that SESD distributes. Gas from the Nebo plant and hydroelectric power from Glen Canyon are the major sources. Ellsworth said he would buy "nu-cu-lure" power in a instant if it were available.

Lauritzen said on Friday morning, the city would send letters to all residents about clearing weeds and overhanging branches along property frontages. Patrols of city employees and fire department members will also inspect the entirety of each property to see if it meets the fire code.